Flowers in my garden

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Seeing as my battery life is now of about 45 minutes, this post must be a record for me!

On a different note, I have taken advantage of the heat wave Mother Nature has so graciously bestowed upon us after endless weeks of cold and rain and then some cold wind and some more rain to take some photos around my garden. Now, the said horrendously indecisive weather has given me a cold and a cough which will not go away regardless of my efforts in taking that disgusting menthol syrup which I can only imagine feels like swallowing disinfectant. So being outside is a real treat on this occasion..’yey’! I do however love macro photography and also love flowers (such a girly girl) so I though it only appropriate to share these on my blog.

Hope you’re all having a good day out in the sun! Enjoy while it lasts (evil voice)….

Ebay selling extravaganza

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Call me a hoarder but I just can’t throw away books, be they GCSE revision guides or not. So it so happens that they usually end up on my Ebay account at very low prices (hint hint) along side other products that I never use and decided to give away. So if you’re interested in any of the above mentioned things, click here!

 

Thanks ;)

Spring revival (a.k.a. obsessive shopping)

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I’ve been going through a shopping phase recently because I felt like I didn’t identify with my clothes anymore. That and the fact that online shopping just gives you so many ideas you can’t help yourself. And as I was packing for Luxembourg and my room and wardrobe were already a mess I decided to take advantage and take some photos. I’ll go through most of them individually, the only one I haven’t got a proper photo of (whoops) is the Swissological hand cream which is the most amazing smelling thing you’ll ever find and it moisturizes amazingly.

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My old Clinique foundation is running out and it has lasted a surprising whole year. Whilst I liked it because it covered the redness of my skin and didn’t block my skin, it felt a bit plaster-y and dry. My skin is much better now so I thought I’d take a risk and venture out my comfort zone. I’m not very big on makeup and will stick with something forever if I find it works but I thought I’d have a shop around for a new foundation. After going to the beauty halls of numerous department stores (which I highly recommend if you’re unsure about what to buy) I decided on Estee Lauder Double Wear that feels really light on the skin, is medium coverage and smells super nice. The packaging is not very practical for travelling but could be worse I think.

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Ring from a local jewelry shop called London Zu.

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My favorite brand of lipsticks; it gives just a subtle color to the lips and it lasts for hours.

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The very end of winter saw me finding the perfect pair of slouchy jeans and I was so happy I couldn’t believe my luck. The Gap jeans are always perfect for me and as they always have 30% and 40% discounts it seemed like the ideal buy. The second pair are denim shorts from Anthropologie that were on sale 70% off and only £15. They’re a little big at the waistband but I can easily take it in when summer – hopefully – arrives. I liked the fact they’re not super tight on the thigh and not ridiculously short either so they have a very relaxed fit.

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Ok…this has just gotten ridiculous. All who know me know that I absolutely love knitwear but this is getting a bit out of hand. I have added to the collection these 4 beauties. I recently realized that most of my things are now either blue, black or grey so I went on a bit of a splurge with the orange sweater, just to bring some life to it.

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No one can have too many striped things, that is a fact of life. I’ve been searching for the perfect classic striped t-shirt and found 3. The Cos one is the traditional, ‘clean’, version whilst the Gap one is really soft and with 3/4 length sleeves and that really cool added color at the trim. Not long ago I discovered & Other Stories, a kind of designer meets model minimalist store opened on Regent Street. Some of the things are really out there but they also have some pretty cool stuff such as the black t-shirt with mesh stripes.

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Finally, the my 2 loves right now are these two bags. The small bleumarine one is from Gap (so surprising) and it’s perfect for going out and not wanting to drag a massive bag with you. It’s the exact opposite of the other one, I know, I know, but it was a donation from my aunt and it’s just so beautiful and spacious that I couldn’t say no. And why would I?

This is all for now, God knows what I’ll find in Luxembourg and France…maybe some shoes??!? ;)…. I think I need professional help at this point.

Ana

Home ♬

Yesterday I discovered some old photos from my last trip to Bucharest in late October, which I had completely forgotten about. Looking through them I have decided to make a shortlist of my favorite places from my hometown and make a photo/ travel diary entry about it next time I visit. Maybe I’m getting a bit nostalgic or maybe I just find any excuse I can to not do work, choose whichever.

Romanian National LibraryI’ll start with some photos taken at the new headquarters of the National Library of Romania which I visited for some research on my Extended Project Qualification (aka the most time consuming thing ever). Personally, I much preferred the old building in the historic center but this one is so much bigger and better equipped so you win some you loose some.DSC00599

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DSC00612All through last summer and autumn they held the biggest exhibition of Romanian art in retrospect, a truly amazing idea of which I will hope to be many more. I love going to art galleries and museums and it just saddens me to see such a great initiative largely ignored by the public. Art really can build up a sense of patriotism and whilst I felt proud of my heritage I also felt a bit disappointed that not many people share this idea with me, but I hope that will change in the future.

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DSC00662Following this, another cultural stop at Sol gallery , a new project started up by two of my parents’ friends. It’s a cosy little art gallery located on Jean-Louis Calderon street at nr. 26 and its concept is really great because their aim is to promote the Romanian artists (be them painters, sculptors or photographers), many of whom have achieved recognition abroad, in their own homeland. They have lots of different paintings exhibited and some are held in a deposit because of the limited space in the gallery but they have some really interesting things so I would definitely recommend it if you find yourself passing by :).

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DSC00596I shall end the post with some autumnal outfit photos. And as I love autumn, especially in Bucharest when the leaves turn red and amber and it’s sunny and warm, I could not help myself but dress with the season in my new (amazing) Staccato shoes, Benetton trousers, PNK casual t-shirt, Uniqlo hoodie, French connection biker jacket and my trusty Fred de la Bretoniere bag.

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Ana 

The overdue ski trip post

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So here is the long overdue post on my trip to Les Trois Valees in France. By long overdue  I mean 3 months late but alas, it’s here nonetheless. The way there was painful; no matter how much I love the Eurostar, my god was it painful having to sit down for about 8 hours. We ended up in the luggage bit in between two carriages reading the french Cosmo and L’officielle till 2 in the morning. Anyways, let’s turn a blind eye to that and focus on the really important things.

The skiing was amazing. The slopes were the best I’ve been on so far and there was so much snow I literally couldn’t get enough of it (although I was starting to fantasize about the comfort of the couch after 5 hours of intensive sporty activities). We had to carry a map with us because we really were spoilt for choice as far as ski lifts are concerned. The whole point of this region of the Alps is that you can easily get to other ski resorts nearby, of which I particularly liked Val Thorens because the slopes were super wide and smooth – there’s nothing more dreaded than bumps.

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This last photo is particularly special because it was taken during our spur-of-the-moment desire to go off-piste…not the greatest of ideas. Although fun at first, we ended up a bit stuck and needing to slide down a hill-type-thing which took us about half an hour, jokes included. But hey, we get extra points for trying no?

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This is an aerial view of our little town, Meribel. The layout is pretty simple. On the far left we have the ski lift and our hotel, in the center there is a roundabout with bus-stops going to Meribel center and on the left we have the all-important boulagerie which sold amazing sweets and fresh croissants and bread (I gained a lot of weight if that wasn’t explicit enough) and the local Spar which we visited every day to their delight I suppose. This photo was taken on our last day when we felt a bit too unmotivated ( trying to avoid the word lazy here ) to go skiing so we went for a hike up a path. It was very pretty but we did get bored quite quickly, but did a nice photo sesh while there.

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Lastly, since we spent New Years eve there it was only to be expected that we would want to experience a typical French celebration. So we took the bus before midnight ( a very scary thing to do because we had no idea where we’d end up ) and went to Meribel center to the outdoor party organised there. The music – dubstep. The drinks – some dodgy red liquid in a sprite bottle. The company – some French guy who kept photo-bombing us and a group of Australian tipsy guys. Good times, good times…

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A Christmas Post

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Just to make it clear, I have no idea how this photo above happened. Moving on, I am super excited (and so should you) for Christmas this year because I’ll be spending a few days with my family and I’ll get to open presents basically. Otherwise it’s going to be a bit strange seeing as I won’t have the usual Christmas schedule, this being the first one I’m spending in London. Which translates into no lunch at my grandparents’, no decorating the tree with my cousin, no traditional Romanian Christmas food and no Christmas Eve with my friend… yeah, this kinda brings the spirit down a little. Oh, not to mention the confusing weather – it’s a little warm and still green, not my definition of Christmas.

But nevertheless, I have painted my nails a festive shade of red and wrapped presents to put under the tree (which I myself have decorated, thank you) and now I am just waiting for the green light to opening the gifts because who am I to pretend I’m not still a kid at heart.

My little (weird, I’ll admit) present for you is this interesting Christmas song :D

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Presents!

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Merry Christmas! 

Jynweythek Ylow

It’s days like those that make me love my ‘job’. I say job with inverted comas because not many people call volunteering that but hey, each to their own.

It basically boils down to this: since October I have been a volunteer for Somerset House, which is an amazing gallery within the Courtauld Institute in central London. I go there every weekend to help with the exhibitions plus on other evenings when they need extra people for events.

Some 4 weeks ago I received an email from my manager asking if anyone would be interested to volunteer for the ‘Valentino: In conversation’ event on the 30th of November, the day the exhibition Valentino: A Master of Couture was opening to the public. Needless to say, my reply had an endless number of exclamation marks and some quite embarassingly desperate pleas but they all payed off because I was selected to help out so no regrets there.

The event consisted in a hour-long conference at the Savoy with the master himself :) followed by champagne at Somerset House and a viewing of the exhibition. Now, in the course of around 2 hours I ticked many things off my bucket list so I’m pretty hyped about that:

Valentino: In conversation

Valentino: In conversation

1) I saw Valentino himself. I was fangirling all the way and said ‘Ciao!’ because you only live once and he’s already 83 so by the time I (might) become famous he will probably not be around so better seize the moment

2) Saw the Savoy and oh my god I want to live there

3) Fringe benefit of my said ‘job’: exclusive viewing of the exhibition before everyone else. It was just so beautiful I cannot put it in words. The long corridor  lined with magnificent dresses from each decade, one more beautiful than the other, it’s so beautiful it’s actually emotional. Or maybe that’s just me, Valentino dresses tend to make my eyes all watery from the overdose of amazing-ness (pretty sure that isn’t a word but oh well). The movie was also really good and from that I found the website of the virtual Valentino museum : it’s like a corner of internet heaven so click here.

Valentino sketches

Valentino sketches

Valentino: Master of Couture

Valentino: Master of Couture

Valentino: Master of Couture

Valentino: Master of Couture

It would be unfair of me to tell all so you better come down to Somerset House and visit Valentino: A Master of Couture which is on till the 3rd March 2013. I’d advise you book tickets because there is a lot of people trying to get in!

Ana x

(the song is right here)

Set the fire to the third bar♬

Thursday night, us rebels doing French AS-level went all the way down to Earlsfield to see a play – mind you, performed in Bollywood style and spoken in English, but written by Moliere. I was a bit skeptical, as any normal person would be, but at the same time intrigued, so after getting so stressed at Clapham Junction (the worst train station ever) we arrived at Tara theater. It may be the smallest theater in the world, I don’t know, but it’s definitely the smallest I’ve ever been into; the size of a normal back-to-back house, the ‘stage’ was the size of the living room and there were no more than 30 seats altogether. Needless to say our group took up 1/3 of the whole thing. Anyways, it was such a fun play with amazing live music of all genres and the actors were actually very good. There isn’t as much dancing as we thought it would but I guess that wasn’t the point of the play…

On Saturday I met with my friend for lunch on Kensington High Street where she suggested Dryland Grand Cafe , a really nice bar restaurant just opposite the tube station. They had everything from cakes to salads but I just had to go for the goats cheese and roasted vegetable sandwich with a blueberry smoothie…so healthy. No need to mention that we couldn’t resist going in a few shops and I’m putting together a wish list as soon as possible. Actually, as soon as I get enough money to spend because otherwise it’s just mean.

And to wrap up my exhausting weekend, Sunday was spent at Somerset House where I’m a volunteer with the temporary exhibitions. This week I was assigned to the Paul Benney : Night Paintings display in the Deadhouse which has just opened and will run until the 9th of December. I love my role anyways, but to get to be in Somerset’s Deadhouse is a privilege as it is almost never open for the public and it’s so interesting. It’s called as such because in its crypt-like walls there are tombs and gravestones dating from the 14th century and with the lighting and the gloomy paintings it was quite chilling. Coming in from Embankment level, the exhibition really stands out as different. I find the paintings themselves quite interesting, some which are quite quizzical and impress with the use of perspective and technique of oil and resin on wood, but I liked the way they’ve been exhibited and I think the location is perfect for the story of the paintings. I definitely recommend it, as I recommend the Valentino exhibition which will open on the 29th of November… I literally cannot wait for that one!

By the way, I’m selling some of my clothes – and not only – on eBay so if you’re interested click here! Thanks :)

Island in the sun♬

I feel guilt as I’m writing this post; I know it seems hard to believe I’ve been away to Greece for what? 4 weeks because I haven’t but I’ve been so so busy lately that I genuinely didn’t have the time to sort the photos and crate this travel diary entry. I guess what I’m trying to say is sorry ?!

Anyways… my holiday in the Greek island of Zakynthos was amazing and one that I will surely remember for some time. It was the perfect combination of sizzling hot weather, perfect beaches and Greek food – all of which are impossible to dislike. 

Just as a side note, these photos have not been enhanced in any way which means that yes, that is the actual color of the water! This part of the island, which is on the northern peak of the island is probably the most famous of its touristic attractions : the blue caves and Shipwreck beach (named so after a ship ended up in this gulf in the 1980′s or so) which are only reachable by boat. The tour we took from Makris Gialos beach was really good and because the sea was quite ‘choppy’ as the captain put it, it was a really bumpy 3 hour cruise. To get to the beach, I had to jump off the boat which was pretty scary, I’m not going to lie. The water is very deep and the waves literally pulled me under so I think I’m a bit crazy when I say that was such a fun adrenalin rush. It’s a truly beautiful place so there’s no way it shouldn’t be on your Zakynthos to-do list.

Dafni beach was definitely the best beach I have been to in the past years. It’s not commercial at all so you get to enjoy the fine sand and crystal clear warm waters in peace which is great. It’s also a good place for diving or snorkeling, there are tons of pretty fish swimming about. One of the highlights for me though was the taverna – the best Greek food on the island, no jokes. Here I’ve completed my 10 day challenge of eating only fish and I fell head over heels in love with their crushed biscuit and lemony Greek yogurt desert as made by the owner’s family’s grandma. I literally had around 5 portions and could have really had some more but it felt a bit weird asking for more. Although I did get the recipe. Also, we had the unique and very lucky opportunity to see Careta Careta baby turtles come out of their eggs and swimming into the ocean and being ready as I was I swam with one as well…absolutely the cutest thing ever!

Other places include Xagio beach – very picturesque but also quite crowded

Porto Roma beach and taverna were also very nice, they had an endless list of available fish cooked in any you could possibly want.

Another completely different experience was renting a boat for the day from Keri beach and seeing all the southern coastline basically. The sea was quite calm in the morning which meant that a) it was perfect for tan-time! b) we could take focused photos c) I got to drive too. The later went pretty well I was so impressed with my steering qualities that I’m now considering a sailing course. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes… Back to the boat, it was such a fun day out, we got to see an adult turtle swimming about and we also dived a lot so I’d definitely recommend the boat renting.

I’d also recommend you see Keri church, it’s surely nothing I’d have expected from an orthodox church. In a way it looked quite Spanish which made for an interesting architecture compared to the one you can find on the island. Also, the medieval olive trees. No story could be found about them, but they looked old and knotty…

Koiliomenos was a favorite place of mine. A small small village in the more rocky side of the island, it was so charming and typically Greek that I wanted to live at their local tavern, which was run by some locals including the village’s oldest resident. While there, stop at the tourist shop in which you can find really tasty olive oil and traditional things like halva and nut jam with honey. And when I say tourist shop, I mean the stone room in the village center in front of which there is always at least one old woman, gossiping about her neighbors I suspect.

Some other nice places include these ones here:

In the evenings, we usually went out to a different part of the island considering it takes about half an hour by car to get from the south to the north. The most impressive views of the sunset can be found in and around Aghios Leon and Exo Chora where  taverns line the high cliffs that enter the Mediterranean. The drive there is also very picturesque.

There are also cities in Zakynthos! Shock, I know! And by cities I actually mean one… Zante is a nice town, with a calm port and narrow streets, lots of merchants and great tavernas. Although it does have some shops, it’s not a great shopping destination but there are a dozen souvenir shops. Out of the less commercial and thus more quality oriented one I’d recommend the Eco Artist shop (where I got my beloved ankle bracelet from) and the market hall, both located on the main street. Also, stop at yo.co for the best Greek frozen yogurt there can be.

Just looking at these photos make me want to go back. But it could be worse, it could be raining in London….